3 Costly Talent Retention Mistakes You Need to Avoid


In today’s disruptive business environment, retaining top talent is more critical than ever. Yet many organizations still stumble over common pitfalls when addressing turnover. Let’s explore three prevalent mistakes companies make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Overemphasis on the Traditional Employee Lifecycle

One of the most common mistakes is focusing excessively on the traditional talent lifecycle — the linear process of attracting, hiring, onboarding, training, and retaining employees. While having robust processes is vital, an over-reliance on the step-by-step mechanics can impede adaptability. Today’s workforce has evolving expectations, and adhering strictly to traditional methods fails to recognize the dynamic nature of modern work.

Organizations must shift from rigid structures to more fluid strategies that accommodate varying employee needs and the fast-changing business landscape. That requires first determining the human experience you want talent to have working with your organization. It should align with your culture. [Of course, if your culture is broken, you need to fix that!]

Mistake #2: Neglecting Non-Traditional Employment Models

Another significant oversight is the myopic focus on traditional full-time employees while neglecting the shift towards gig and freelance workers. According to a study by Deloitte, the gig economy is expanding rapidly, a trend expected to continue. Gig workers — like those driving for Uber, delivering via Instacart, or working on freelance platforms — are becoming integral to business operations, often being the frontline representatives of a company’s brand.

Despite this, many companies fail to engage and support these workers adequately. Businesses should strive to include gig workers in their talent retention strategies by providing them with essential tools, recognition, and incentives to enhance their engagement and loyalty.

Mistake #3: Focus on Lower Levels of Motivation

Many organizations concentrate primarily on meeting basic survival needs, such as competitive salaries and benefits. While these aspects are essential, they do not drive true employee motivation or engagement. According to Herzberg’s Two-Factor Motivation Theory, basic needs — or hygiene factors — such as pay and working conditions, prevent dissatisfaction but do not foster long-term engagement or motivation.

To truly engage employees, companies need to tap into higher-order motivators. This involves offering opportunities for personal growth, meaningful work, recognition, and respect. Employees are more likely to stay with an organization when they feel valued and their work has a purpose beyond the paycheck.

A Paradigm Shift Required

Addressing these common mistakes requires a paradigm shift from traditional, linear approaches to more dynamic, inclusive, and human-centered strategies. By considering the entire talent spectrum and focusing on deeper motivational drivers, organizations can create an environment where employees are not just retained, but thrive.

By adjusting these core strategies, you can turn retention challenges into a competitive advantage, creating places where people genuinely love to work and feel valued.

Need some support shifting your culture and talent lifecycle experience? We can help! Let’s have a conversation.


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

Copyright 2023 Vivian Blade